“Business is business. No room for emotions here. One must show no weakness.” It has not been infrequent for managers and professionals from various companies to present that vision to me when we discuss what the workplace atmosphere should be like. So why would we need emotional intelligence in business, after all?
First, what is emotional intelligence? Personally, I like to define it as the ability to perceive and recognise your own feelings and emotions in such a way that you can understand your moods and manage them properly. Being emotionally intelligent means both understanding others and reacting to their emotions; it implies understanding, self-discipline, command, knowledge, honesty, acceptance, or all of this.
True, when thinking of managers the qualities that come to our mind right away are related to the necessity of being balanced, cautious, organised, efficient, etc. Nobody says managers should be emotionally intelligent. But surely, referring to them as good or bad, we imply that good managers have the capacity to empathise, contain themselves and acknowledge their own emotions, as well as other people’s feelings, therefore to be emotionally intelligent.
One of the most appreciated managers worldwide, for example, was Jack Welch, General Electric CEO. Welch stood out, above all, by his capability to be humane, build a team and bring out the best in the people he was working with. Without emotional intelligence Welch would have been unable to achieve success only by calculating and reasoning.
Over the past few years, the need to reach business targets has brought to the fore the concept of emotional intelligence. Instead of investing in processes and tools, organisations realised that the most important resource they need to rely on and in which they have to invest is the people. That implicitly means providing for their capacity to inspire, motivate and become leaders who take the right decisions at the right time.
One way in which business people can develop their emotional intelligence is by coaching, which provides methods whereby business professionals can learn to work with their own emotions according to their individual goals. Whether they want to find out about their most frequent moods or how they function at the emotional level, coaching helps them realise that showing emotions may well be a sign of caring about the people around them.
Yet another way in which coaching can be helpful in the business field is by showing that decisions made in stressful moments risk being the wrong ones. Because of enormous pressure managers can feel overwhelmed by their own emotions and may end up letting steam off in many ways: shouting at their team, losing control of business plans, etc. Coaching allows a little self-detachment and reflection on how conversations can be carried out amiably.
Using emotional intelligence in business means knowing how to create a space of calm where points of view about things can be shared with other people. In the last five years there has been more and more interest in the motivation and wellness of employees because if processes are up do date, it is eventually people that may pose challenges. The more involved they are, the better the results. And the finest accomplishments come from emotionally intelligent people. All the things are inter connected.